Decades-Old Chinatown Stalwarts, Including Yee Li, Close for Good

Posted on: August 26th, 2019 at 5:00 am by

Photo: Karlin Chan

A spate of mom-and-pop closures has plagued Chinatown. In the last month alone, three longtime businesses – each established for decades – succumbed to cutthroat real estate pressures.

Yee Li, the old-school Chinese BBQ joint located at Bayard and, had been a neighborhood mainstay the last thirty-three years. It was once named New Big Wang, and occupied various locations before settling the corner of Elizabeth Street fifteen years ago. And despite a relatively strong customer base, ownership called it quits due to increased rent (so we’re told).

Adding insult to injury, though, last week the city sent its Department of Health inspectors to the restaurant, mere days before the closure. The inspection yielded 68 violation points for a litany of kitchen infractions; the city kicking them while already down.

Then there are the two shutters on Mulberry Street – Canalberry (pharmacy/dollar store) and Pho Thanh Hoai. Higher rents also ended their decades-long tenure here in Chinatown.

Just like that, a combined seventy-plus years gone.

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